The Detroit Lions make a week six road trip to take on the Minnesota Vikings but won’t have to endure the Metrodome’s house of horrors. This one will be outisde at TCF Stadium as the Vikings build their new stadium but a mid-October date means the weather should still be good. Certainly much better than it will be in week 15 when the Vikings visit Ford Field.
To get a feel for the Vikings side of preparations for the 2014 season, I got together with Adam Carlson of The Viking Age for a Q&A. Here are my questions followed by his answers.
1. How would you assess the team’s offseason? Did they do what they needed to do through the draft and free agency?
"The Vikings had a lot of holes to fill in free agency and the draft, and they did a decent job filling up the spots. Some of the positions will need players to step up or return to form, but overall this should be an improved team (especially on the defensive side of the ball). Coming off a 5 win season, some big changes needed to be made, and the biggest was getting a new coaching staff and offensive/defensive schemes."
The Viking Age
2. Which Rookie are you most excited to see play in 2014 and why?
"For now, I’m going to assume Teddy Bridgewater will sit behind Matt Cassel, so I’ll choose Scott Crichton. As a third round draft pick, he should be able to come in as a rotational or situational pass rusher and be very productive as a rookie. The fact that he slid to the third round is quite a surprise in my book, since I had a first round value on him. Honorable mention in this category goes to Jerick McKinnon and Antone Exum."
3. What is the biggest question that still needs to be answered heading into training camp?
"Will the Vikings be able to adjust to the scheme changes fast enough to be competitive this year? There’s no doubting that there is talent all over the Minnesota Vikings team, but they need a competent coaching staff that can implement these fundamentals quickly. If this team struggles to pick up on them, they could find themselves struggling coming out of the gate and ending up with quite a few early losses."
4. What are your expectations for the team in 2014?
"I try to keep my expectations as low as possible. A team making major scheme and coaching changes coming off a 5 win season can’t be expected to compete for the division or be Super Bowl contenders. That’s especially true when you consider how good the NFC North as a whole is. However, I see the Vikings improving this year and making huge steps to getting the new systems in place to ensure a more successful future."
5. Right here, right now, are you marking down the game against the Lions as a win, loss or toss-up?
"Since the Vikings and Lions are division rivals, they will play each other twice. I always firmly believe that you can throw records and history out the window any time that two division teams play each other. For that reason alone, I’m predicting that these two teams will split their series this year with both teams winning on their home field. These games should be great contests to watch because of how much talent is on these two rosters."
For more on the Vikings, check out The Viking Age.